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Preview: Dragons v Ulster

03rd September 2009 13:10

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Isaac Boss: Leading Ulster into battle

Dragons Head Coach Paul Turner has named his Dragons side for the opening match of the season against Ulster at Rodney Parade on Sunday.

Gethin Robinson and Hugh Gustafson both come in onto the bench to replace Phil Price and Ben Castle who have both picked up injuries.

"Although we do have a few players on our injury list, they are for the most part returning to play imminently so I'm feeling positive about the start of the season," said Dragons Head Coach Paul Turner.

"Obviously losing Ben Castle and Phil Price in the front row is a blow but we are in good shape for the start of the season."

Meanwhile, Ulster Head Coach Brian McLaughlin has named his first Magners League squad for their trip to Newport.

With the exception of the unluckiest Lion, Stephen Ferris, and crocked captain Rory Best, McLaughlin has otherwise been able to name a full-strength squad for his first competitive outing as the province's new head coach.

Into the starting fifteen go new signings Andy Kyriacou and Dan Tuohy at numbers two and four as the province looks to start the season with victory on the road.

Form: Despite slipping up 6-12 at home to Glasgow in round one of the Magners League last season, Dragons have still won their opening game in three of the last four years. Dragons have won three of their last four games at Rodney Parade. Ulster have also won their opening encounter of a new season in three of the past four years, the loss being 9-16 at home to Scarlets last September. Ulster have lost their last eleven matches against the Welsh Regions in the Magners League. Newport Gwent Dragons have won three of their last four games against the Ulstermen, whilst the Irishmen have not won at Rodney Parade since a 32-25 victory in the Magners League on 9 September 2006.

Dragons: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Aled Brew, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Richard Fussell, 10 James Arlidge, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Nigel Hall, 2 Tom Willis (capt), 1 Ali McKenzie.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Steve Jones, 18 Gethin Robinson, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Grant Webb, 21 Martyn Thomas, 22 Alex Walker.

Ulster: 15 Bryn Cunningham, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Andrew Trimble, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Isaac Boss (c), 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Chris Henry, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Brendon Botha, 2 Andy Kyriacou, 1 Bryan Young.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Thomas Anderson, 20 Paul Marshall, 21 Paddy Wallace, 22 Darren Cave.

Date: Sunday, September 6
Venue: Rodney Parade
Kick-off: 14.05 BST
Referee: Carlo Damasco
Assistants: Phil Fear (WRU), Neil Perkins (WRU)
TMO: Huw Lewis (WRU).

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Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
Friday , September 12
Ulster vs Zebre19:35
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys19:35
Edinburgh vs Connacht19:35
Benetton Treviso vs Munster19:35
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PosTeamPPts
1Leinster2282
2Glasgow Warriors2279
3Munster2274
4Ulster2270
5Ospreys2266